TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are patiently counting down the days to the start of their summer vacation. It officially begins Friday, the day after they put the wraps on a three-day mandatory minicamp that began Tuesday.
There is, however, at least one Buccaneer who will not be getting a summer vacation, and that’s largely because he’s already had an extended spring vacation.
“While everyone else is vacationing, I’ll be here training and rehabbing,’’ left guard Carl Nicks said of his plans to be at One Buc Place for the six-week break the team has before the start of training camp in late July.
“I didn’t get to the (voluntary workouts), as you guys (media) pointed out. So, I’ll be here working, trying to get all the mental reps I can and running and hopefully (getting) ready to play.’’
That is the Bucs’ hope, too. Even better, it’s their expectation.
Though Nicks’ absence from voluntary workouts sparked speculation he might not be ready for the start of camp, the Bucs are convinced he will.
“Our expectations for Carl are the same as they are for everyone else,’’ Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. “No player has an injury that I’m really concerned about that’s going to hinder them starting to work out when we come back.’’
That wasn’t the case Tuesday. As he has been since Week 4 of last season, Nicks continued to be hindered by the effects of a left big toe injury he suffered two years ago and the MRSA infection he subsequently contracted on the same foot last year.
His mere presence, though, was a welcomed site for Smith and came in the wake of an accomplishment achieved on Monday that can only be described as a sign of progress.
“Carl hasn’t been around as much as some of the other players, but he was here Monday when we had our official physicals and he passed his physical,’’ Smith said.